Honda says its improved reliability has greatly reduced the manufacturer’s need to spend time on “clean-up” issues, allowing it to focus instead on performance gains.
After several dismal seasons of struggling to get a hold on F1’s hybrid technology, Honda started to make significant strides last year when it partnered with Toro Rosso, a precursor to supplying sister outfit Red Bull Racing.
Reliability gains were followed by performance enhancements, delivering three wins to Honda in 2019, milestones which consigned to the past its fastidious and time-consuming troubles.
“I believe we have learned what is a priority for qualifying, or how to win the race,” Honda F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe told Motorsport.com.
“I’m asking Sakura on the Japan side to focus on some key points to improve. We learned a lot.
“On the other hand, reliability is not perfect enough this year, but our reliability is getting much better since last year. It means we can develop positive items, not a countermeasure test or bench test.
“We spent a lot of time on something that was a clean-up test [before].
“Now we can put more time to improve our performance. Then we can think about the more detail with each area.
“I want to keep this momentum for next year. We need to push more to achieve our goal [of fighting for the championship].”
Honda’s growth and advancements has allowed to comply with the demanding targets set by Red Bull which in turn has boosted the confidence between the two partners.
“We have regular meetings with Red Bull, Christian [Horner] and Helmut [Marko], myself and [Sakura R&D chief Yasuaki] Asaki-san,” Honda F1 boss Masashi Yamamoto told Autosport.
“There we share our plans and the current situation as well, they share their plan and current position.
“The fact it is almost on the schedule as planned is very important because we have mutual trust in each other, which makes the relationship stronger.
“We are really looking forward to next year.”